Kelli Sanford

Kelli Sanford

Title: Part Time Senior Lecturer
Office: Guzzetta Hall
Phone: 3308580149


Kelli Sanford is the Executive/Artistic Director & Founder of RED Company and the recipient of the 2016 Akron Arts Alive Award for Outstanding Artist in Dance. From 2011 - 2017, Ms. Sanford choreographed 15 world modern dance premieres and was awarded over a dozen grants from foundations such as The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and the Robert O. & Annamae Orr Foundation to support the company for 6 seasons. In 2015, Ms. Sanford accomplished a milestone for the company by establishing its own independent arts center - The RED Dance Center - in Hudson, Ohio. Building RED Company over the past 6 years from a grassroots level, Ms. Sanford has presented 6 annual public dance concerts, over 46 outreach performances to nursing homes for the elderly community, outreach programs at middle schools, and special performances at Ohio’s Great Lakes Science Center, The Nightlight Cinema, Akron Public Library, and The University of Michigan Dearborn. Ms. Sanford holds a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from The University of Akron. In addition to serving as the artistic director of RED, she is a Part-Time Senior Lecturer in Dance at The University of Akron, an Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Kent State University Stark Campus, and was a Part-Time Lecturer in Dance at Case Western Reserve University from 2007-2011. During her graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, Ms. Sanford received numerous awards in excellence in teaching, performing, theatrical elements, and was the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Pancoast Fellowship Award that enabled her to study Aboriginal Culture & Dance in Sydney & Adelaide, Australia. As an Assistant Lecturer at CWRU she was nominated in the undergraduate student body for “Excellence in Mentoring” and “Most Engaging Lecturer Award.” Professional performing credits include Ms. Sanford as a featured dance soloist with Tikvah Company of Artists, where she performed in Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Ms. Sanford has also performed with Opera Cleveland and Louder Than Words Dance Company. A leader and mentor in modern dance arts education, Ms. Sanford was the Lead Artist in Dance for the city of Akron’s Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience program of 2009, 2010, and 2011 of which she developed the first ever dance program for the SAE. In this program, she trained and mentored Akron high school students from different economic and cultural backgrounds. Her choreography from this program was featured in the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. Ms. Sanford served as the Dance Instructor of Ohio Ballet’s Turned Out Tikes Summer Children’s Program from 2002-2007. A seasoned and sought-after teacher of modern dance, Ms. Sanford currently teaches at the RED School of Modern Dance as part of RED Company’s mission in modern dance education and modern dance technique at Canton Ballet. In 2012, Ms. Sanford presented a collaborative project sponsored by The University of Akron, From There to Here and performed at the prestigious International University Global Theater Experience conference in Vienna, Austria. In July 2014, Ms. Sanford performed and presented her dance work SKINS at the San Diego International Fringe Festival in San Diego, CA. Ms. Sanford is a Certified Pilates Mat & Machine Instructor, training from Body Technic Systems Inc., and is the owner of PHYSIQUE KINETICS LLC where she offers personalized Pilates training.

Research Accomplishments

2016 Akron Arts Alive Awards Recipient Outstanding Artist in Dance


  • M.F.A in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University
  • B.A. in Dance from The University of Akron
  • University Certified Pilates Instructor (Body Technic Systems)


Modern Technique Choreography Director,

Touring Ensemble